Is Gucci’s Future Now Hiding at LVMH? The Josephine and Frederic Arnault Story

Two years after leaving Time Inc, Helen Gurley Brown’s grandson is heading to the executive suite at the world’s largest luxury retailer. Frédéric Arnault, a former managing director and head of business development at…

Is Gucci's Future Now Hiding at LVMH? The Josephine and Frederic Arnault Story

Two years after leaving Time Inc, Helen Gurley Brown’s grandson is heading to the executive suite at the world’s largest luxury retailer.

Frédéric Arnault, a former managing director and head of business development at Time Inc., is joining LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton as executive vice president and chief operating officer of LVMH Americas.

Born in Paris in 1959, Frédéric and his brother Christophe Arnault were raised by their grandmother Helen Gurley Brown, who died in December, at the Gurley Brown School of International Business.

The siblings are the sons of Robert Brown, who is married to actress Sharon Stone.

The Arnaults follow in the footsteps of older siblings Andre and Alexander who got into the business with publishing company, Portfolio. (Andre is now a top executive at LVMH’s own art house magazine, Numéro.)

Frédéric holds a PhD in Management, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has been a successful freelance consultant specializing in transformational change, strategy and business transformation since the early 1990s.

Arnault, who will report to Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of LVMH, was most recently the founder and managing director of a consulting firm focused on transformational change and business transformation.

“He is a dynamic and forward-thinking leader who is deeply familiar with the US luxury market and the businesses of our family group’s leading brands and markets,” Arnault said in a statement.

“Frédéric brings to the newly created position of COO Americas his own in-depth knowledge of our US operations and management teams, and he has led some of the world’s most exciting businesses,” he added.

Arnault held a number of senior roles at Time Inc. beginning in 2004, including managing director of the Americas and head of business development, and worked his way up to the top.

At the time of his appointment, he helped negotiate a $6.3 billion acquisition by Meredith Corporation of Time Inc. in 2012.

Prior to Time Inc., he was president of the German luxury sports car company, Porsche AG. He was also a director of Porsche AG and Porsche Holding, Inc.

The purchase of Time Inc. was one of the largest deals by any publisher in recent memory, and Arnault helped negotiate the sale.

LVMH said last month that it would increase the quarterly dividend for shareholders by 29 percent to 2.50 euros, but the Arnaults’ rise to a more prominent seat in the luxury world’s first family could represent a boost for LVMH.

A LVMH spokesman declined to comment on Frédéric Arnault’s salary or the makeup of his compensation package.

He’ll start with the company in June and take up his new post in December.

The Boston Consulting Group reported that top executive compensation and base salaries rose an average of 16 percent in 2017.

At the same time, profitability increased 24 percent on higher sales.

Industry watchers suggested that the Arnaults’ arrival indicates a shift to a more “old-boy network” at LVMH, which could help sustain the company’s ongoing strong growth rate.

LVMH, which owns about 80 percent of luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon, Hennessy cognac and Dom Perignon, added 9.3 percent to its market capitalization last year.

The company also reported its revenues increased by 6.2 percent to 35.1 billion euros in 2018.

Nicole Laporte contributed to this report.

The Outfront Leadership Show, sponsored by SC Johnson, airs every Sunday on Fox News Channel

Leave a Comment